Dear North Side Community School Friends,

It's hard to believe we are in the final days of 2020. This year has been full of "teachable moments" for all of us. I am writing to share with you a reflection from our second grade teacher, Ms. Turney.
A Tale of "Teachable Moments"
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin.

Embracing the teaching moment is embedded in the web of the teachers’ code of being. The challenges of Covid classrooms push the “teachable moment” to a whole new level. For a 7 year old, Covid means chromebooks. It is not just the community chromebook in the literacy corner, it is their very own chromebook and they quickly became the master of this tool.

In just a few weeks, my second graders could log into their Zoom room, check assignments on Google classroom, share their screen, navigate between platforms like they are on a seesaw as they use SeeSaw. They can follow the scheduled links to make their way to Art, Music and PE, and complete reading logs on A to Z. They have mastered the drag and drop and copy and paste (not easy tasks for small hands still building fine motor skills).
Whiteboards, both virtual and real, have taken center stage as a way to demonstrate their learning. They can chat privately and publicly and have found their voice with the microphone. Most importantly, they have learned the value of the mute feature.
Equally amazing is that they have mastered these skills while sharing space with entire household who are also working and/or learning from home or in the midst of fully operational daycare facilities full of sound and distractions. Our scholars have proven their ability to adapt to the ever changing landscape of learning. When we learned that we would be returning to the school campus, I turned to these change-agents and play experts to help design their learning environment. I was confident that they would help to create the Covid classroom that was both safe and full of joy.
“I am so excited to be back at school but I am also a little afraid,” expressed one student during a morning meeting. I knew we could address both the excitement and the fear by giving time for listening and actively involving the students in the decision making process. I started with a task that would appeal to their expertise---PLAY. I acknowledged that they were the experts of PLAY and I needed to employ them to create new ways of play--Covid-safe play. We defined Covid safe as staying 6 feet away from each other, wearing masks and if possible happening outdoors. With these guidelines, they took on the challenge and exceeded my expectations.
They proposed Nature Scavenger Hunts and races that start in a socially distant circle and move out and in again or move around the circle. They suggested bird watching and contactless variations on schoolyard standards such as “Duck, Duck, Goose.” Their involvement in creating the safe games led naturally to conversations about safe class and how we take responsibility for each other. They understood that our actions reflect our concern for one another.
Our students have shown us their resilience, flexibility and adaptability this school year. At the same time our educators have gone above and beyond to ensure our students needs are met and that they are continuing to learn and grow. We are very proud of our North Side Knights.

Sincerely,
John Grote
Executive Director